The very first thing to check is that it is dead everywhere, and won’t start on either fill or spin. If you find it won’t start on a wash cycle – but it will work OK on spin then it may be related to not taking any water in – go here won’t fill with water.
If the washer will not start on any programme at all, the next thing to check is that it is actually a fault on the washing machine and not the wall socket. If there are lights coming on but the washer won’t start a wash or spin cycle then obviously it is plugged into a working socket so you can jump to the next section. But if there are no lights at all the first thing to check is that the socket is supplying power by plugging something else in such as a lamp – and that it’s actually switched on. I have seen wall sockets switched off by the machine itself when it moved around on spin and pushed one of the hoses into the switch. Although it is less likely to be the socket you'd be daft not to check it out before calling an engineer as it does occasionally turn out to be a faulty wall socket.
The next thing to check is the fuse in the plug (not necessary if any lights on the washer are lit up). Test with a continuity test meter. If you don’t have one put the fuse into something else and check the appliance still works or try another fuse that you know to be OK in the washer. Make sure you use a 13 amp fuse and never by-pass a fuse! If the washer has tripped the electrics or blown a fuse read this article
If wall socket & fuse are OK but washing machine won’t start
The most common cause for a washing machine that wont start is the door interlock, particularly if the main light on the washing machine has come on, but nothing works.
However, the fault could also be in wiring to the door interlock, or the door catch not activating it properly, or a faulty on off switch, or even the main control module. With some washing machines (eg Indesit and Hotpoint) even an open circuit heater or motor can cause the entire washing machine to stop working except the led lights.
Therefore you need to know what you are doing to trace this type of fault and need a continuity test meter. So if it isn't the wall socket or the plug, and you can’t see any loose wires you may be be better getting an appliance engineer to trace it.
How the door interlock works
The key to tracing faults is a full understanding of how things should work so if you suspect the door interlock see my article which covers How does a washing machine door interlock work?
More possible causes
If it isn’t the door interlock it could be so many other things including as mentioned earlier bizarre things like a faulty heater or motor on some machines. It could even be the main pcb blown somewhere. Please consider using my links for spares and booking engineers, which helps keep this resource running.
If washing machine fills with water but won’t start washing
If the washer won’t start but it does actually at least take water in and it seems to be going straight down the drain try here Washing machine fills and drains at same time
Do not work on a live washing machine. Engineers use a continuity test meter to trace faults with the washing machine unplugged and never test with a live washing machine, which is crude and dangerous.
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